The Real Cost of Food

There’s one thing that Andrew and I have learned as we’ve operated our farm to grow/raise meat, eggs and produce organically and sustainably… It’s HARD WORK and it’s EXPENSIVE to produce good food the right way – in a way that respects the land and animals and produces the most healthy, highest quality food.

And so, as I look around at the food scene…

  • Discount grocery stores that sell eggs for .79 a dozen
  • A “local” food stand that’s importing tomatoes
  • Boxes of convenience mixes that mislead consumers with their ambiguous words like “all-natural”
  • Fast-food chains that offer 5 sandwiches for $5

It’s understandable that folks would find the price of good quality food expensive. There is definitely a price GAP between commercially produced “cheap” food and good quality food. And over the last decade this gap has widened.

There’s a reason for this.

Big agriculture and the commercial food industry are continually vying for ways to make larger profits through cheaper food production.  They have the advantage of government subsidies and grants, private large-scale funding, increasing technology in food processing and the use of chemicals in growing, flavor-enhancement, and increasing shelf-life, etc.

These behaviors have the effect of making it more expensive and logistically more difficult for small growers and food producers to do their own thing in making food “the old fashioned way.”

So, we have this gap… low quality food gets cheaper and high quality food gets more expensive.

That makes it more difficult for YOU to know where your greatest value is and where you should put your dollars. I don’t have the answer for you in every situation but here are a few truths that I understand that I hope will make it easier for you to make good food purchasing decisions…


Eating high quality food…

  • Directly impacts your health and even the ability for your body to heal itself
  • Supports REAL people in small industry
  • Tastes SO MUCH better
  • Supports circles of sustainability in our food cycle


Eating LOW quality food…

  • Directly impacts your health and even the ability for your body to heal itself
  • Supports big industry whose motivation does NOT include your health and wellness
  • Weakens our ability to provide for ourselves and increases our dependence on others to feed us


And I’d like to say one more thing before I close this. I’ve heard many times from many folks in many ways over the last 5 years that SC Real Foods has served our community that we JUST NEED TO LOWER PRICES.

I want to personally tell you that our margins are very low. I have been committed to SC Real Foods NOT being a BOUTIQUE or SPECIALTY food store, but instead, a place where all people in our community can find and afford good-quality food. I understand that eating this way is expensive, and that it requires you to make value judgments about how and where you’ll spend your food dollars. Andrew and I personally THANK YOU for supporting us.



  1. Terri on May 19, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks Val for providing quality food to our area. I just wish you had a store in Hartsville 🙂
    I tell everyone to shop at your store for the best food choices around.

    Terri K

    • Val Criswell on May 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      My pleasure, Terri. THANK YOU for your support.

    • LWG on May 29, 2017 at 9:46 am

      A Hartsville store would be wonderful!!!

  2. Emily Lynch on May 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    I love your service to the community and I totally understand your prices. If I’m ever there and don’t feel I can afford something I just don’t get it. It would be nice to have healthy foods at lower prices but unless we are willing to do the research as to how and take the time to do it ourselves then we pay someone like you to do it. I used to make soap several years ago and people would say why is it $4.50 a bar. They could go to Walmart and get 3/4.50 of chemically based soap. It’s just a decision we have to make. I don’t trust Monsanto and the FDA. I do trust you and people like you.

    • Val Criswell on May 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you for your trust. I don’t take that lightly or for granted. It’s always been a responsibility that we bear on your behalf, to research products and ingredients so that we’re prepared to guide you and tell you the good, bad and ugly so you can make informed decisions… it’s a SERVICE, if you will.

      Yeah, I totally get you on the soap thing. It’s a great analogy.

  3. Cynthia on May 20, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I’ve come to the realization that you pay on the front end now by eating better quality foods and exercise or pay later at the pharmacy and Dr’s office/hospital

    • Val Criswell on May 21, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Yeah… and it’s sure easier to eat good food than it is to go through an illness.

  4. Denny on May 22, 2017 at 1:14 am

    keep on pressing on Val and Andrew! Appreciate you.

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